I’m big on the First Amendment. I’m big on people being free to voice their opinion, to make their voice heard, to add to the marketplace of ideas. And that makes me supportive of those who protest. Let’s put our ideas out there and may the best ones win. Let no one be silenced before they’ve had their say.
As a result, I have no problem with the Women’s March generally. If women, or any group, has something to say, and they want to join collectively to say it in a peaceful way, go for it. But supporting the right to express opinions doesn’t mean that the opinions expressed should be free from criticism. Just the opposite, actually. If you enter the fray, expect to face opposition – that’s just how it works.
And I have some criticisms of some opinions that bubbled up in the Women’s March.
Here’s a quick example that was posted on social media by a man in response to the recent Women’s March in Washington, DC. The context was that he was recalling something his first boss told him years ago:
“You must admit that men destroy the world and women bring life into it. Men fight in the streets and pubs and conference rooms and office buildings and enjoy drawing blood, demeaning opponents, slashing rivals, killing enemies. Men are monsters. Women are redeemers. Women suffer and bring life into the world. Men exploit and destroy life. Women nurture children, promote art, improve their surroundings, and listen to the personal pain of their husbands like wise priests. Without women, we (men) would have destroyed the world long ago. My wife is the smartest person I know and I trust her explicitly to guide and nurture our business. I do what she says because I trust her completely and love her unconditionally. I’m fortunate that she loves me and is willing to play her part in our secret charade. But, if I was the President of our business, it would have failed long ago. We enjoy success because of her even temperament, her careful planning, her vision, her hard work ethic, and perseverance. I’m just the ‘front man.’ She’s the brains.”
WOW! Never before had I heard a man say those words. And mean them. That surprising moment stayed with me my entire career – for all the right reasons. So, when I listened to all of those positive words being spoken by so many women during the Women’s March, I remembered my first boss and his revelatory words about women. Then, I thought of how much chaos we have encountered in our world both domestically and internationally. How are we ever going to face, let alone solve these daunting problems? How are we ever going to combat what feels like a society now being led by gladiators, liars, frauds, and charlatans.
How? By turning to the nurturing spirit of women who lead without blood-letting, organize without vengeance, envision a better world without winners and losers, listen without personal agendas, produce without self-promotion, discern without prejudice, help others without the presumption of payback. It was all there in Saturday’s peaceful march being witnessed in the streets and televisions of America – for all to see and hear and respect. Women speaking out against the fears and hatred that too many men have promulgated for too many centuries. Women sharing their hearts and better judgment for all to hear. Women with prudent answers, not revenge, not spin, not “alternative facts.” I heard unknown women of courage, resolve, vision, compassion, insight, leadership, compromise, and peace.
Here’s the summary: men are violent and stupid, women are wise and benevolent. Thus, men should step back and turn over the reigns of leadership to women so that we can all finally see “courage, resolve, vision, compassion, insight, leadership, compromise, and peace.”
You see, this is really the heart of much of the women’s movement. They’ve taken a cause that was quite worthy and necessary, the equality of women, and pushed too far to where women are being portrayed as a more highly evolved species that should rule us all. Even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has mused that the Court should be comprised of all women, because for many years it was all men. Like so many causes, they’ve become the thing they set out to defeat. What started as a movement for equality has become a movement for special. What became a movement to gain a voice has become a movement to suppress dissent.
Here’s an example from social media:
“Dear Guys; Men, Dudes, Bros,
We do not have the right to comment/judge/voice our opinion on the Women’s March yesterday in regards to the issues that solely impact women.
The issues they deal with are far beyond our ability to comprehend.
However, it is our duty to sit down, shut up, and LISTEN. I mean truly, deeply, honestly, LISTEN. Not only with our ears, but with our minds and most importantly our hearts.”
“Sit down, shut up, and listen.” I wonder how those who support this idea would react if a man told women to “sit down, shut up, and listen”. My guess is that there would be a march on Washington.
“We don’t have the right to voice our opinion on issues that solely impact women”. Are there any issues that “solely impact women”? This language is typically code for abortion and birth control related issues. But those issues are not restricted to women. Abortion involves a man who might wish to be a father and (at least potentially) a child who probably wishes to have a life. As it pertains to birth control, I don’t know many men who want to restrict a women’s right to obtain birth control. However, the minute that a woman asks birth control to be funded by taxpayers, the issue no longer “solely impacts women.”
History is pretty clear that movements that seek to silence the opposition should be opposed, at least in that regard. And women should know that seeking to marginalize the value of an entire gender should be opposed, at least in that regard. So, no, men should not sit down and shut up.
And so, as we explore who we should be as men in these times, here’s my message:
The world needs our strength. The world needs our courage. The world needs our skills. The world needs our voice. The world needs our leadership.
Men, the world needs you. Women are wonderful. They have qualities and abilities that we don’t, and their abilities are not less important or less valuable than ours. The world needs them. And where I would agree with those in the women’s movement is that we need to listen. We need to hear and understand their concerns. But, the notion of women being specially equipped to lead the world on their own is a fantasy. The notion that men are to blame for the world’s problems is fiction. Men, we cannot back down. We must rise up.
But here’s the balance: Men, we need to get better. We need more strength. We need more courage. We need more sacrifice and duty. We need to engage our wives and our children. We need to be better men. Otherwise, many of the complaints levied against us will be true. That we’re lazy. That we’re selfish. That we’re immature. That we’re destructive. That’s not going to be my story. You’re here because you don’t want it to be yours. Let’s do this. The world needs us.